Travel Resources

To make your Playa del Carmen adventure seamless, consider these essential resources:

  • Flights: Use our flight search tool to find the most affordable options to Cancun International Airport (CUN).
  • Travel Insurance: Ensure a worry-free vacation with comprehensive coverage.
  • Car Rental: Explore at your own pace by renting a vehicle for your stay.
  • Tours: Enhance your experience with curated tours showcasing the region’s natural and cultural wonders.
  • Packing Essentials: Don’t forget beachwear, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera to capture memories.

Key highlights:

  • Pristine white-sand beaches
  • Turquoise Caribbean waters
  • Vibrant nightlife and shopping on Fifth Avenue
  • Gateway to ancient Mayan ruins

Diverse ecosystem with cenotes and coral reefs

Some History First

Playa del Carmen’s history is as rich as its turquoise waters are deep.

  • Ancient Maya: The area was part of the Maya civilization, with nearby cities like Tulum and Coba.
  • Early 20th Century: A small fishing village with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants.
  • 1970s: Began to attract tourists as an alternative to Cancun.
  • 1990s-2000s: Rapid development transformed it into a major tourist destination.
  • Today: A cosmopolitan city that still retains its bohemian charm.

Playa del Carmen Today

Modern Playa del Carmen is a thriving tourist hotspot that caters to all types of travelers:

  • Population: Over 300,000 residents
  • Economy: Primarily driven by tourism and services
  • Attractions:
    • Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue): Pedestrian-only street lined with shops, restaurants, and bars
    • Beautiful beaches: Mamitas Beach, Playacar Beach
    • Eco-parks: Xcaret, Xplor, Xel-Há
  • Culture: A mix of Mexican traditions and international influences

Is Playa del Carmen Safe?

Playa del Carmen is generally considered safe for tourists, but as with any travel destination, it’s important to exercise caution:

  • Crime rates are relatively low compared to other Mexican cities
  • Tourist areas are well-patrolled and safe
  • Use common sense:
    • Don’t flaunt valuables
    • Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night
    • Use official taxis or reputable ride-sharing services
  • Health safety:
    • Drink bottled water
    • Use sunscreen and stay hydrated

Where is Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen is strategically located in the heart of the Riviera Maya:

  • Yucatán Peninsula: Eastern coast of Mexico
  • State of Quintana Roo
  • Distances:
    • 68 km (42 miles) south of Cancun
    • 20 km (12 miles) north of Tulum
    • 65 km (40 miles) from Cozumel (accessible by ferry)

Latest Articles

From The Area

What is the Best Time to Visit Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round, but there are optimal times to visit:

  • Peak Season (November to April):
    • Ideal weather: Warm and dry
    • Perfect for: Beach activities, outdoor exploration
    • Note: Higher prices and larger crowds
  • Shoulder Season (May to June, October):
    • Good balance: Decent weather, fewer crowds
    • Potential for deals on accommodations and activities
  • Low Season (July to September):
    • Hurricane season: Higher chance of rain and storms
    • Advantages: Lowest prices, fewer tourists
    • Great for: Budget travelers, those who don’t mind occasional rain

Best time to visitDecember to April for optimal weather and activities

How to Get to Playa del Carmen & Around

Getting to and around Playa del Carmen is relatively easy:

1. By Air:

  • Fly into Cancun International Airport (CUN)
  • ~45-minute drive to Playa del Carmen

2. Airport Transfer:

  • Shuttle services: Many hotels offer these
  • Private transfers: More expensive but direct
  • ADO bus: Affordable public option

3. Within Playa del Carmen:

  • Walking: Many attractions are within walking distance
  • Taxis: Abundant, but agree on fare before riding
  • Colectivos: Shared vans, cheap but can be crowded

4. Exploring the Region:

  • Rent a car: Offers flexibility for day trips
  • Tours: Organized excursions to popular sites
  • Ferry to Cozumel: Regular service from the downtown pier

Things to Do in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen offers a wealth of activities for all interests:

1. Beach Life:

  • Relax on Mamitas Beach or Playacar Beach
  • Try water sports: Snorkeling, paddleboarding, jet skiing

2. Cultural Experiences:

  • Visit nearby Mayan ruins: Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza
  • Explore local markets for authentic crafts and food

3. Natural Wonders:

  • Swim in cenotes: Natural sinkholes with crystal-clear water
  • Visit eco-parks: Xcaret, Xplor, Xel-Há

4. Shopping and Dining:

  • Stroll along Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida)
  • Try local cuisine at authentic restaurants

5. Adventure:

  • Go ziplining through the jungle
  • Take a diving or snorkeling trip to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

6. Nightlife:

  • Dance at beachfront clubs
  • Enjoy live music at various venues

Where To Stay In Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen offers accommodations for every budget and preference:

1. Beachfront Resorts:

  • Luxury options: All-inclusive amenities, private beaches
  • Examples: Paradisus Playa del Carmen, Royal Hideaway Playacar

2. Boutique Hotels:

  • Intimate settings: Often in the city center
  • Examples: Hotel Cielo, The Palm at Playa

3. Budget-Friendly Options:

  • Hostels and guesthouses: Great for backpackers
  • Examples: Selina Playa del Carmen, The Yak

4. Vacation Rentals:

  • Apartments and villas: Ideal for families or longer stays
  • Many options available through platforms like Airbnb

Key areas to stay:

  • Downtown: Close to Fifth Avenue, bustling nightlife
  • Playacar: Gated community with resorts and golf courses
  • North Playa: Quieter area, closer to nature

What To Eat In Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen’s culinary scene is a delightful mix of traditional Mexican and international cuisines:

1. Local Specialties:

  • Cochinita pibil: Slow-roasted pork
  • Tikin xic: Mayan-style fish
  • Salbutes and panuchos: Traditional Yucatecan snacks

2. Seafood:

  • Fresh ceviche
  • Grilled octopus
  • Fish tacos

3. Street Food:

  • Tacos al pastor
  • Elotes (corn on the cob with toppings)
  • Marquesitas (crispy crepes with fillings)

4. International Cuisine:

  • Italian, Japanese, and fusion restaurants available

5. Drinks:

  • Craft cocktails using local ingredients
  • Mexican beer
  • Fresh fruit juices and agua frescas

Where to eat:

  • Local markets for authentic street food
  • Fifth Avenue for a variety of restaurants
  • Beach clubs for seafood with a view

Entry & Exit Requirements

Before traveling to Playa del Carmen, ensure you meet Mexico’s entry requirements:

  • Passport: Valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay
  • Tourist Card (FMM): Typically issued on arrival or during your flight
  • Visa:
    • Not required for stays under 180 days for many countries including the US, Canada, EU, UK, and Australia
    • Check with the Mexican embassy if you’re unsure

Important notes:

  • Keep your tourist card safe; you’ll need it to leave the country
  • Declare any items over the duty-free limit
  • Check current COVID-19 requirements, which may change

What To Pack For Your Trip

Packing for Playa del Carmen should focus on light, comfortable clothing and essential beach gear:

1. Clothing:

  • Lightweight, breathable fabrics
  • Swimwear and cover-ups
  • Light jacket or sweater for evenings
  • Comfortable walking shoes

2. Beach Essentials:

  • Sunscreen (reef-safe recommended)
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Beach towel
  • Waterproof phone case

3. Health and Safety:

  • Insect repellent
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Refillable water bottle

4. Electronics:

  • Camera or smartphone for photos
  • Universal power adapter

5. Miscellaneous:

  • Daypack for excursions
  • Spanish phrasebook or language app
  • Copies of important documents

Remember: Many items can be purchased locally if forgotten, but prices may be higher in tourist areas.


The official currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN), although many establishments also accept U.S. dollars.

Mosquitoes can be present, especially during the rainy season. It’s advisable to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants in the evenings.

It’s recommended to drink bottled or filtered water to avoid potential health issues.